Wild Animals

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The rarely seen archive which shows rich 185-year history of Bristol Zoo

Rarely before seen footage of Bristol Zoo has been released ahead of its closure later this year - with people being asked to share their own memories.

Bristol Zoo Gardens has gone through its archives to celebrate its 185-year history at 'The Zoo and You, Memory Show and Tell' event which will be held on 28 and 29 May.

It comes ahead of the closure of the Clifton zoo in September. The animals will be moved off site to make way for a housing development before the reopening of a new zoo at the Wild Place Project in 2024.

Most of the archive collection - which features old relics, photographs, film footage, signs and records - have not been shown in public for decades.

Black and white footage shows animals including bears on poles, lions and giraffes.

The film also shows the famous Rosie the elephant - who used to give rides to children - while relics dating back to 1898 have also been uncovered.

Head of public engagement Simon Garrett added: “As we move towards the closure of the Clifton site, it’s important that we mark and celebrate the 185-year history of this famous attraction, and look to the future of the new Bristol Zoo.

“Within our archive rooms, we’ve uncovered and dusted off treasures and thanks to the help of the team at Bristol Culture, we’re excited to reveal some hidden gems that shine a light on the zoo’s history.

“We hope seeing these items will bring back fond memories for visitors, who have enjoyed many a day out at the zoo."

Whereas keepers at Bristol Zoo now operate a "hands off" approach, footage from the past shows staff getting incredibly close to animals alongside visitors.

Simon said: "I think it's very interesting, some of the big animals in the past, they had a lot more close interaction with the keepers.

"These days we're very much hands off, these are wild animals. In the past they were much more hands on. I think the animals were stimulated a lot by a lot of interaction with visitors and keepers as well."

One of the main reasons Bristol Zoo says it is moving sites is to provide more space for animals at its new home.

The zoo's programme coordinator Scott Raven said: "Over the years our big animals have left us here at Bristol Zoo - and I think that's for the best. It's a 12-acre site, it's too small to house elephants, lions and things like that."

Head of field conservation and science, Dr Grainne McCabe said practices of old would not be repeated today - with the zoo now focused on protecting some of the planet's most endangered species.

"We have a lot of species here and to be able to focus more on fewer species but do much more impactful things for those species is really what we want to do going forward," she said.

"I think most people would agree they think probably that is the better way forward as well even though we absolutely love Bristol Zoo Gardens."

from james cooper dobson and the good mornig news team

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Johnny Depp becomes patron of Folly Wildlife Rescue centre in Kent

Actor Johnny Depp has become the newest patron of Folly Wildlife Rescue in Kent.

The charity dedicates itself to rescuing injured, orphaned and distressed wild animals and birds and helps them to recover.

The Hollywood actor visited the centre earlier this month, shortly after winning his libel lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard.

He was pictured holding a badger cub at the centre, as he toured the UK with musician Jeff Beck.

The actor was brought to the centre by Beck's wife, who is a patron of the centre.

The charity says Depp's visit was an incredible afternoon for staff, as the Pirates of the Caribbean star toured the hospital's care and vets units.

It wrote on its Facebook page: "Johnny was incredibly complimentary and in his own words 'blown away' by what he saw.

"To top the visit off, we even allowed him the rare privilege of briefly holding Freddie (as in Mercury!) one of the many orphaned badger cubs we're currently hand rearing - and I think it's fair to say he was bowled over by the whole experience!"

Speaking on Friday Hannah Hall from Folly Wildlife Rescue Trust said, "We had a ten minute warning and then he turned up in his car and came over and shook my hand.

"It was very surreal.

"He was really genuine, he was in awe of the whole place. I think he couldn't believe that a wildlife rescue could look like this, so quite complimentary.

"It was just like talking to anyone else really - it didn't feel like I was talking to an A-list celebrity who I watched growing up. It was quite amazing.

"He thought he could hear monkeys, but it was actually the badger cubs so we explained to him how different the wildlife is here, and he just took an interest in everything."

Depp was spotted in a series of surprise public outings around the UK, including at a pub in Newcastle, after the high profile defamation trial came to an end.

Depp had sued Heard over a Washington Post article she wrote, entitled: “I spoke up against sexual violence – and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”

The article does not mention Depp by name. However his lawyers argued at trial that it falsely implies he physically and sexually abused the Aquaman actress while they were together.

Following a six-week trial, jurors found Depp should be awarded $15 million in damages; comprising $10 million (£8m) in punitive damages and $5m (£4m) in compensatory damages.

from james Cooper-Dobson and the good morning news team